samurai

Review: Uzumasa Spotlight by UKAnifest

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Hi Civilians, 

  In 1952 Charlie Chaplin decided to make one last great film, Limelight. This film was about a fading clown who passes on his skill and love of performance to a young dancer. It's a story that is very close to the Japanese idea of a master passing on his skill. The was of the samurai is to recognise that when something is challenging you alter the nature of your surroundings.

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In this affectionate tribute to the history of Japanese cinema, writer Hiroyuki Ono transfers the Chaplin plot to Uzumasa, to celebrate the genius of the past and the enthusiasm of the upcoming generation.

Uzumasa was once home to over 100 Kirareyaku - samurai that specialize on being killed on screen. For prowess, personality and encounters this particular samurai values acquaintances, including administrators, suppliers and movie stars. Due to the decrease of the audiences wanting to see the samurai in action and curiosity towards jidaigeki movies, the business they operate has seen a decline and they have decided to stop all similar productions, consequently to introduce new faces in their next films.

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Hence, Kamiyama finds himself with no film to appear in and at the end of many years he finally ends up playing in a samurai in a theme park, an idea that brings disgrace on both him and his friends and colleagues. By chance, he meets a young girl, Satsuki (Chihiro Yamamoto) who has now become his disciple. He begins to train her in this dying art of dying and she brings renewed attention to the chanbara genre and becomes what Kamiyama was never able to become...a star of the samurai. 

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Ken Ochiai based this movie upon the history of these broadly unknown males, portraying in melancholy their decrease and that of the jidaigeki movie generally speaking. That is reasonably presented by the film industry, one among the most distinctive examples of the aforementioned. For the reason that style and crime movies gradually replace the samurai movies and the portion of the business that connected with the second is left dangling, not having the ability to adjust after a lot of years. The older people of the specific production company, due to the regard they obtained over years of assistance with Kamiyama and the rest of the Kirareyaku, try frantically to find work for them.

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Upon the new people, including suppliers, administrators and stars, who want nothing to do with the past and are totally disrespectful towards the veterans. This personality likewise presents a new trend in the business, with pop stars become protagonists in movies due to their recognition instead of their performing capabilities, a strategy that leads to mediocre shows, to say the least. On the other hand, the upper limbs, as Kamiyama, are actually disgusted with the new methods included with the movies, as is the utilization of CGI for instance, especially since they cannot comprehend that methods it took decades for them to ideal, are actually therefore quickly replaced by technological development.

This movie is a breath of fresh air. It's characters have great back stories and you immerse yourself in the world of the forgotten samurai that has elements of the modern day feeling about times when we can lose our way and job security. Its a must see and although it might take a while to get into it, this film is worth seeing. 

Film: ★★★★☆

 @ukanifest

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Anime Review: Hakuoki Season 1: Demon of the Fleeting Blossom Collection by Aisha Anime

Hakuoki season 1

Hakuoki season 1

It was only recently when i went to Japan I understood how popular the series Hakuoki was and that Europe was lucky to get two titles released here and the anime series. Hakuōki  Demon of the Fleeting Blossom looks like a harem or Bishounen anime to the naked eye.

Actually, the anime series is a well grounded anime with lots of interesting characters and plot based on history and with real character name , locations and contex The story revolves around the female lead  Yukimura Chizuru who has gone in search for her father. But runs int Ronin who fall to prey to the Shinsengumi or so she thinks, theses were much worse - the 'furies', a strong superhuman race with defining features of white hair and red eyes. Luckily before Chizuru comes to any harm, the real Shinsengumi come to her rescue.

Once Chizuru is in their custody it's either die by their hand or be a prisoner to their dastardly needs (if only). A greater purpose for her encounter with the Shinsengumi soon begins to unfold as the story develops. Both parties have the same mission in that they're both looking for Chizuru's father. To this end, Chizuru inadvertently joins the Shinsengumi (more a prisoner than comrade).

During the course of the series, she  forms bonds between her and some of Shinsengumi, but to be honest there are more battles with the furies and other armies than there is romance in this series. The battles come frequently on a large scale and the Shinsengumi prove themselves to be more than just good looks and charm. In fact I feel Chizuru is redundant apart from being the cook and nagging.

The Shinsengumi 

The Shinsengumi 

The plot I think is highly engaging, I wasn't gripped by the first episode and the shiny animation was a bit off putting, but once the character started to introduce themselves I really got into the series. Politics, strategy and action are the main themes of the anime, with occasional outbursts of slapstick comedy. It's really well balanced for something so serious.</p>

The furies are a topic of taboo to begin with and slowly learning about them changed the whole series for me. Who would have known there would be supernatural themes to take over in this historical setting? Throughout the series the Shinsengumi face many furies and you begin to learn some are 'real demons' and the man made ones have a 'sell by date', so to speak. Later on, you also begin to learn more behind the mystery surrounding Chizuru's father and his intentions. Being a series based on history and conflict, you'll find that some characters actually die, sometimes in nasty, artistic and realistic ways. Aside from the battles putting the series in historical context, it was eye opening to see disease as a way of slow death. Characters you may have favoured at the start also begin to change their ways and ideals throughout the series as a consequence of power, money, leadership and pride.

Definately an anime to invest in and season 2 and the OVA is already out and I hear there is a third season *fan girl screams* FOr more info on MVM UK titles go here: http://www.mvm-films.com/AnimeTitle?ID=3112

~Aisha Anime~

Hakuoki Boys 2

Japan Day 2014 by Aisha Anime

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After much pony loving at Buck 2014, Manchester is the place to be and Bank holiday Monday at the Midland's Hotel was home to Japan Day this year. This event was completely free and hosted by Japan North West society with help with the London Japan Society.

Upon walking inside you were greeted by the bright lights and amazing tree in the middle of the foyer creating a great backdrops for photos. The staff at the Midland's hotel were exceedingly helpful and even took some coats into their cloakroom to help the cosplayers. 

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Upon passing the info desk and cosplay registration, past that takes you to the martial arts demonstration room, where a heated kendo match ensued, with tables at the back laden with different types of weapon and armour for people to look at. Shortly after an authentic tea ceremony took place. Where a audience member sat and received tea made in a stylish and methodical way. You would have to wait a while for this cuppa ! Six lucky members also got to partake in the ceremony for only £2 per person.

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We also had the lucky opportunity to listen to Rakugo Comic Storytelling by Katsura Sunshine. A 400-year-old tradition of comic storytelling told my Canadian comedian in a Kimono kneeling on a cushion who literally converses with himself. What really struck me was he was teaching us about Japanese etiquette at the same time. There wasn't a single member of the audience who was not laughing. Mr Sunshine will be touring the UK check out  his page for more info: http://katsurasunshine.com/

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If you ventured to the right of the main hall you would find the dealers room where a huge array of Japanese merchandise was on offer from cosplay outfits and Japanese fashion from Manchester's store Tokyo Royale to traditional Geisha head pieces from Kikuya Kanzashi.

There was also an abundance to art - especially from deviant art artist Kidura who was donating all her profits to charity, a Japanese manga artist was showcasing her art, Japanese Railway Society, Northern To-ken and the Ningyo (dolls) were bewitching making me reminisce of my JRPG survival games. If you also wanted to you could try on a Japanese Kimono for free and wear it throughout the day.

A lot of people simply came to watch the Cosplay contest where a lot of entries graced the stage with their outfits and personality. Third place came Haku from Spirited Away, then the L and Light duo and first place was Lightening from Final Fantasy. All of them looked great and Totoro and the Wolf man got honorable mentions.

We also got to watch some authentic Japanese lottery where Mr Sunshine picked out the raffle winners of free sushi, tea set, picnic hamper and more. Straight after was the really energetic Taiko drummers. If you were interested in the cuisine you had a choice of curry rolls (Japanese equivalent to Pasties), noodle, rice and pastries fro the Sweet Cup Cake maid cafe.

~Aisha Anime~

tea ceremony